Dolorous Knight Was born February 17, 1914, and passed peacefully away on June 5, 2012, at her home in San Francisco. She was 98 years old. Dolorous was born in North Dakota, the second of three children. Always kind and thoughtful of others, when she was named Valedictorian of her high school graduating class, she asked that the honor be shared with her good friend whose grades fell only slightly behind hers. In 1933, with the promise of work out West, she made the journey by train to California. Her high school friend Ann arrived to welcome her at the Oakland train station with a handsome young man named Kenneth Knight. There was as yet no Bay Bridge, so the threesome rode the ferry across the bay to San Francisco. Ten years after stepping off that train, Kenneth and Dolorous would wed and stay happily married for 62 years. Shortly after their wedding they purchased their one and only home in Excelsior, where Dolorous lived for 69 years. Later she would recall the thrill of watching the opening ceremonies for the Golden Gate Bridge, and she died only a few days after the 70th anniversary of that event. Dolorous felt lucky to find work as a secretary soon after arriving in San Francisco. Her impeccable attention to detail and strong work ethic served her well as an office manager for the outdoor advertising firm, Foster and Kleiser, where she worked for 42 years until retiring in 1978. The couple shared their modest home with both of their widowed mothers until their deaths, and Ken's younger brother, Don, until he finished college. According to Dolorous, "There was never a cross word between any of us. There is just no reason to be cross with people you love." Her love of others was also expressed in her volunteer activities. She was a lifelong knitter, and along with her good friend Padge knitted hundreds of baby caps for newborns at local and regional hospitals. She volunteered with the Senior Program at Ocean Avenue Presbyterian Church where she was a member. The couple was dedicated to the values of living simply, sharing with those in need, and giving back to their community. They loved the natural world, kept a garden, and often spent summer vacations camping with close friends on the Rogue River in Oregon, Yosemite National Park, and Vancouver, British Columbia. With no children of her own, Dolorous was a delighted "Aunt De" to the two generations of children of the families with whom she shared her summer vacations, a street full of neighborhood kids, and her brother's children in Texas. Even after traveling the world, she thought Yosemite was the most beautiful place on earth. A lifelong reader, Dolorous was a regular visitor to her beloved Excelsior Branch of the San Francisco Library. In 1976, she began keeping a log of books she read, and 36 years later at the time of her death, the log showed over 2,100 books. In 2006, in a demonstration of her commitment to improving her community, she made a generous gift toward the renovation of her neighborhood library. In 2009, the City of San Francisco declared October 3rd "Dolorous Knight Day" in honor of her generous sprit and dedication to neighborhood vitality. Always modest, she thought "Dolorous Knight Day" was the silliest thing that had ever happened to her. Dolorous will be remembered for her graceful and gentle style, her generous and loving heart, and her delicious oatmeal cookies. She will be deeply missed by all of those whose lives she touched. She is preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth Knight; brother-in-law, Donald Knight; parents, Annie and Don MacEachern; sister, Donna Starkey; and brother, Rod MacEachern. She is survived by nieces Deda Divine of Texas and Sandee MacEachern of Arizona; great-niece, Natalie Divine of Alaska; great-nephew, Bodhi Landa of New York; her family of caregivers in later years, including Aileen Santa Ana, Barbara Ochsner and Kathy Mattia; and countless friends of all agesfrom around the world.
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Published in San Francisco Chronicle on June 17, 2012